Tesla deal expected to go to Nevada lawmakers Wednesday

Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to issue a proclamation today calling the Nevada Legislature into special session — with the opening gavel expected mid-day Wednesday.

Their task is to review and vet the deal the governor and his office of economic development worked out to bring electric-auto manufacturer Tesla Motors’ battery plant to Northern Nevada.

Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs said the first day of session will cost approximately $60,000 and each additional day about $25,000.

That is higher than he earlier estimated, but he said some costs are very difficult to predict — especially overtime.

“The amount of overtime required is really dependent on the way the session goes,” he said Tuesday.

Also, not included are the costs to print the bills needed to implement the deal with Tesla Motors and the size of those bills as well as the number of amendments.

Also left out of the estimate are per diem costs for legislators traveling before and/or after the session.

“I also increased the estimate because we are experiencing steeper airline prices for travel to Reno than I had originally estimated,” Combs said.

Three-quarters of lawmakers travel from Las Vegas.

Because of the complexity of the deal with Tesla and the requirement that legislative bill drafts are limited to a single subject, it may take upward of a half-dozen bills to implement.

When the session convenes, the Assembly will be two members short. Democrat Peggy Pierce of Las Vegas died last October after a lengthy battle with cancer, but the seat wasn’t filled because the constitution prohibits appointments if there is a general election before the next scheduled legislative session.

Until last week, the next session was scheduled for February, and that left little time for a special meeting of the Clark County Commission to name a replacement.

Fellow Democrat Joe Hogan of Las Vegas isn’t expected to attend because he suffered a stroke less than two weeks ago.

In trade for bringing the $5 billion “gigafactory” to Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, Tesla and partner Panasonic essentially pay no sales, business or other taxes for 10 years with sales tax abatements extending to 20 years. The total tax break could be as high as $1.3 billion.

But, according to Sandoval, the factory will bring 6,500 jobs and generate another 16,000 jobs in western Nevada and have a total estimated impact on the economy of $100 billion during 20 years.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, has made it clear they don’t intend to just rubber-stamp the deal. She said after announcement it will be closely scrutinized to ensure there are performance guarantees and other protections for the state — including a way to “clawback” the abated taxes if Tesla doesn’t keep its promises to the state.


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